Verse > Anthologies > Edward Farr, comp. > Jacobean Poetry
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Edward Farr, ed.  Select Poetry of the Reign of King James the First.  1847.
 
Stanzas from “The Passion of a Discontented Mind”
XXVII. Anonymous
 
FROM 1 silent night, true register of moanes;
  From saddest soule, consum’d with deepest sinnes;
From heart quite rent with sighs and heavy groanes,
  My wailing muse her wofull worke begins:
    And to the world brings tunes of sad despaire,        5
    Sounding nought else but sorrow, griefe, and care.
 
Sorrow, to see my sorrow’s cause augmented,
  And yet lesse sorrowfull, were my sorrowes more:
Griefe, that my griefe with griefe is not prevented,
  For griefe it is must ease my grieved sore:        10
    Thus griefe and sorrow cares but how to grieve,
    For griefe and sorrow must my cares relieve.
 
Thou deepest Searcher of each secret thought!
  Infuse in me thy all-affecting grace;
So shall my works to good effects be brought,        15
  While I peruse my ugly sinnes a space;
    Whose staining filth so spotted hath my soule,
    As nought will waste, but teares of inward dole.
 
O that the learned poets of this time,
  Who in a love-sick line so well indite,        20
Would not consume good wit in hatefull rime,
  But would with care some better subject write:
    For if their musicke please in earthly things,
    Well would it sound if strain’d with heav’nly strings.
 
But woe it is—to see fond worldlings use,        25
  Who most delight in things that vainest be;
And without feare worke vertue’s foul abuse,
  Scorning soule’s rest, and all true piety:
    As if they made account never to part
    From this fraile life, the pilgrimage of smart.        30
 
O why should man, that bears the stamp of heaven,
  So much abuse heaven’s holy will and pleasure?
Oh why was sense and reason to him given,
  That in his sinne cannot containe a measure?
    He knowes he must account for every sinne,        35
    And yet committeth sinnes that countless bin.
 
O that I were remov’de to some close cave,
  Where all alone, retired from delight,
I might my sighes and teares untroubled have,
  And never come in wretched worldlings sight,        40
    Whose ill bewitching company still brings
    Deepe provocation whence great danger springs.
 
Note 1. XXVII. Anonymous.—In 1611 was published a small work quarto, and consisting of only twenty-four pages, entitled “The Passion of a Discontented Mind.” This work, which possesses considerable merit, appeared anonymously, but it is supposed by some to be the production of Nicholas Breton. [back]
 
 
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